This week it’s spring break at The College for Creative Studies, where I teach. With a week off, we were able to travel to the Library of Congress this week, and I spent a little time seeing some amazing things. The Library of Congress is one of the most important hubs of film preservation in the world. It’s mission allows so many rare things to again find an audience- many things for the first time since their original showings. I’m privileged to be able to work with the library on many of the projects we have in one state or another, and always amazed at who many things are still out there, waiting to be discovered again.
The handling of rare materials of various formats is second nature for the researchers and archivists there, but what always makes me smile is the excitement and love for the materials present in everyone you talk with there. One of the sets in progress here involves a lot of short films made about Hollywood in the 30s through the 60s, and watching seasoned LOC folks enjoy footage they hadn’t seen is especially gratifying for me. It’s just a bunch of pictures in a reel until it’s watched again.
Now, that said, at this point, there’s a backlog of things to show here that I can’t just yet… but, soon enough, there will be a flood of these things ready to show here.
This week, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Robert Osborne, the wonderful film historian and host of Turner Classic Movies. In late 2014, I was lucky enough to appear on TCM with Mr. Osborne. It was a wonderful experience- and Mr. Osborne was as friendly in person as he appeared on TCM. Clearly, the crew working with him (and us) that day loved him , and he seemed to enjoy being there and guiding the conversation. For myself, the best part was the conversations we had *before* the broadcast, talking about his career a little and what his favorite animated films were (heavily Disney).
The business aspect of the job was only revealed as the shoot began. As a seasoned professional, he politely talked with the crew as the shoot took place, and asked for retakes on several things. He also asked that I point out any mistakes that he or I said as we were shooting so they could be edited- I think this was the most important aspect to him. I still made one mistake that I wish I would have caught.
It was clear that he loved talking movies, and was curious and interested in chatting about things he didn’t know as much as what he did know. His friendly attitude on camera really was the same in person, never talking down to anyone there. His smile as we were casually chatting was infectious. He asked about several places in Michigan, and was especially interested to hear about the revitalization of Detroit.
Tommy Stathes and John Canemaker were shooting their segments that day as well for an “animation broadcast night”, so I was happy to be among familiar company. The shooting went very smoothly that day- but that same can’t be said for broadcast! The segment with Tom Stathes and John Canemaker were shown, but a mistake was made in their computer lineup that repeated the Canemaker program. The Van Beuren segment I hosted finally appeared on December 7th.
Here are the segments:
Here is a short segment from Tom Stathes’ appearance as well:
Our own Jerry Beck appeared in 2012 on TCM with Mr. Osborne as well – check these segments out.
In Thunderbean news, there’s much activity on various titles here. A preorder for the Blu-ray version of Noveltoons is currently at the Thunderbean website. This is an update of the previous DVD version, with some new titles added- 22 films in all, almost all 35mm IB Technicolor prints. The pre-order (as usual) has a special extra disc of things that didn’t make it on the replicated set. Click here for details.
The newest scans on Flip the Frog are just stunning. As we’re coming closer to finally wrapping up the set, I’m excited to see the scans that are being finished as well as working on the digital cleanup. The camera negs are stunning beyond belief – like they were shot yesterday. I’m looking forward to presenting more material in the coming weeks, but mostly looking forward to the set being all finished!
Have a good week everyone….